Not even television legends like Mike Judge and Greg Daniels can escape the ongoing death spiral of Netflix animation. The TV comedy icons were in the middle of production on a new project, Bad Crimes, when Netflix pulled the rug out from under the pair of prolific showrunners

It turns out that, even when you create iconic and influential shows like The Office, King of the Hill, Parks and Recreation, Beavis and Butthead and Silicon Valley, you’re still not protected from the whims of executives who, apparently, believe they know more about making hits than the people who literally make the hits.

The recent series of shocking cancellations among streaming services, including the controversial cord-cutting of the already finished Batgirl film which Warner Bros. Discovery spent a whopping $90 million to produce, betrays a startling level of uncertainty and a lack of direction among industry leaders. Bad Crimes is just the latest addition to the list of projects that we definitely would have watched if a bunch of cigar-smoking TV executives hadn’t decided that they’re suddenly too cool for cartoons.

Yet this somehow made it to four seasons

Netflix originally handed a 10-episode order to Judge and Daniels, who were set to produce Bad Crimes alongside the show's creator, Nicole Silverberg, a veteran of the Full Frontal with Samantha Bee writing staff. The animated comedy would have followed two loose-cannon FBI agents, voiced by comedians Lauren Lapkus and Nicole Byer, who would travel the country solving grisly murderers while “juggling their friendship, career ambitions and as many men as possible.”

“We all feel that working with Netflix — which not only permits, but encourages my grossest, most violent comedy fantasies — is a dream come true,” said Silverberg before Netflix gutted her dream with a rusty pair of garden shears. The series was originally greenlit by Mike Moon, the former Head of Adult Animation who was ecstatic to be working with legends like Judge and Daniels on a new project to add to Netflix’s library of grown-up cartoons such as BoJack Horseman, Big Mouth and Tuca and Birdie, among other beloved properties.

Bad Crimes was announced in January 2022. Just a few months later, Netflix began the purge of their animation wing in an acrimonious upheaval that prompted cut creatives and executives to make accusations of “staged data” against the once-great media monolith. Many former Netflix employees claimed that the company presented them with fabricated data sets to support Netflix’s decision to cancel projects and can the talent responsible for shows that Netflix claimed to be unprofitable. 

Moon was among the departures from Netflix’s animation wing, but after leaving the company in July, Moon teamed up with one of Universal’s lauded animation studios, Illumination, to create a new label, Moonlight, which plans to push the boundaries of animation and make fresh films that are intended to reinvigorate the genre.

Since Netflix has pulled out of production for Bad Crimes, Judge, Daniels and Silverberg are free to shop the series to any interested buyers. Silverberg’s dream may have been wounded by her former benefactors, but it’s not dead yet. Perhaps Moon will convince Universal to take a chance on the series and upstage Netflix as they continue their speedrun to eliminate all quality original programming. 

While Netflix may be removing some of their best originals and canceling exciting new projects, it’s not all subtraction for the streaming giant. They’re adding ads to a basic streaming package starting November 3rd

That’s what they were missing.

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